Top 10 Tips for Promoting Professional Development in the Workplace

Top 10 Tips for Promoting Professional Development in the Workplace
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Promoting professional development in the workplace typically involves providing information to employees that encourages participation in career development activities. Crafting and distributing timely newsletters, email messages, brochures, posters and multimedia communication helps ensure that company staff read the information, stay focused on developing their careers, recognize the benefits of continuing education and make the right choices to broaden their skills and knowledge.

10 Useful Tips

1. Maintain a Career Development Website

Maintaining a company website dedicated to the announcement of career development activities provides a place where employees can return to on an on-going basis to seek out professional development information, such as available jobs, newly posted courses and tools for career management. By featuring a new interview each month with a corporate executive discussing the importance of career development, the site inspires employees and encourages the use of professional development in the workplace.

2. Offer Personalized Professional Development Assistance

By providing links to self-assessment quizzes and a help desk to ask questions about professional skills required for jobs at the company, website developers make a company career development website interactive and compelling. By promoting the use of social media technology, such as wikis, blogs and forums, they create awareness about additional ways to connect with experts and create a supportive network. Encouraging employees to sign up for RSS feeds allows them to sign up for information that’s relevant to them.These activities help employees set realistic professional development goals.

3. Publish Testimonials

Employees learn from each other. Publish testimonials about how employees used training and tools to gain new skills and knowledge to further their careers. These articles create awareness about available training courses that help employees prepare to take on a new role, such as transitioning from an individual contributor to a managerial role. Successful training professionals record video or audio interviews with employees who have successfully completed advanced degrees or earned specialized certification credentials to capture their tips on using professional development resources. These endorsements give programs credibility. Encouraging employees to act in a similar way helps them set realistic timetables for professional development.

4. Generate Excitement About Upcoming Events

Create brochures and posters to publicize professional development events, such as workshops and seminars. Provide incentives, such as T-shirts or coffee mugs to the first five people to register to encourage attendance and generate enthusiasm for events.

5. Invite Guest Speakers

Motivational speakers from other departments, industry associations or the community can inspire employees to use the natural talents and skills to fullest extent possible. Polling employees to learn about who they would like to hear from can help a training group target the right types of speakers to invite and promote. Promoting programs, such as job rotations or volunteer work can also motivate employees and improve job satisfaction.

6. Create a Slogan for Professional Development Programs

Creating a brand image for a professional development program ensures that employees remember where to go for details about career development courses and support. Developing an inspiring icon and specific color palette to use on all presentations, brochures and letters helps create a positive image for career development.

7. Send Monthly Newsletters

Sending monthly newsletters, typically via email, usually generates interest in specific programs. Featuring a topic, such as effective communication or project management, creates awareness about available programs and ensures employees make use of the opportunities available to them.

8. Distribute an Annual Questionnaire

Soliciting employee feedback about the usefulness of professional development programs helps training professionals ensure that activities provide relevant instruction, practice and reference information. Distributing an online or paper-based survey on an annual basis lets employees give training professionals useful input on what programs truly impacts job performance.

9. Schedule Training Events at Convenient Times

Promoting and conducting professional development events should not disrupt the flow of work. By avoiding scheduling conflicts such as interfering with financial deadlines, employees can take full advantage of professional development events.

10. Analyze Website Traffic

Maintaining a useful professional development website, to promote events and provide access to registration, reference materials and other information, enables a training professional to keep employees informed. Using Web analytics tools, training professionals can determine which links generate the most traffic and modify the site if necessary. The data also validates assumptions about employee needs and interests and can help drive future programs.

Reference and Image Credit

Gutteridge, Thomas G., Zandy B. Leibowitz, and Jane Shore. Organizational career development: benchmarks for building a world-class workforce. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1993.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Everaldo Coelho